Starting Your Small Business Series - Part 1
How to use drop shipping to start a small business for under £150
Starting a new business is actually easier than you’d think. We’re at risk of over simplifying things here, but at a very basic level here are the things you’ll need to do to get started:
- Choose a brand name, domain name, host and a dedicated email address.
- Choose a supplier or drop shipper.
- Choose an ecommerce platform, like Shopify or Bigcommerce.
- Choose a website theme or template.
- Create or source your product designs.
- Decide on a marketing budget and launch!
Choosing a brand name and domain name
For a lot of people this will be the most difficult step during the whole process, and not because it’s all that difficult. We’d all love a brand name that’s witty, memorable and relatable but in reality it’s not always possible.
For starters, the clever brand names are often taken, and even if they’re not some budding entrepreneur might have bought the domain name in anticipation for someone like you wanting to use it – which you’ll need to pay a lovely premium for. In the end this is one of those things you’ll need to think about, but not too much or you risk over-thinking.
You want a catchy, memorable name that also translates to an unregistered domain. Remember, floppydog.com is different to floppydog.co.uk – meaning there are multiple variations of similar domain names up for grabs, and just because one extension is taken it doesn’t mean all of them are.
If you don’t mind spending a little extra money it might be wise to register a few domains to secure your brand recognition. Once you’ve chosen your brand name you might find that the .com, .co.uk and .uk extensions are all available; if you bought all three of these and had two of them redirect to the third you’ll make sure that anyone typing your brand name directly into their browser URL bar is more likely to land on your page, plus you’ll stop competitors or completely unrelated brands registering your alternative domains before you can.
Let’s say we’re setting up a small business that offers a marketplace for artists to sell their work on a while host of different products – something like ‘Crearte’ would make a great name.
To the non tech-savvy, domain search and registration might sound a bit daunting, but it’s actually really easy. You can search for available domains through any one of thousands of different sites, but one of our favorites is Domainr because it offers both standard and unusual domain extensions. For example, searching for ‘Crearte’ offers crearte.co.uk, crearte.uk and cre.art as available, or soon to be available domains. Domainr also lists different domain registry sites for you to click through to and find the best deal, and some also offer a 5% discount for using Domainr to choose your host, which makes it simple for first timers.
Image taken from domainr.com
Domainr is really simple to use. Search your brand name in the box marked 1 and a list of domains will appear at 2. Some will be available and some won't, but Domainr make this really easy to identify and understand. Once you've settled on an available domain you can either click the Buy Now button at 3, or select one of the other purchase options below.
Clicking the Buy Now button will take you to a checkout page for the best available deal, but you can select a different host from the purchase options if you'd prefer - after all, some hosts will offer benefits that might suit you more than others so it's worth shopping around. You can change your host as often as you like, though some may limit you to changing at the end of a contract period or may charge admin fees.
For the sake of simplicity we’re going to use the same company to both register our domain and host it for us. After looking through the various options available we settled on GoDaddy because registering crearte.co.uk only costs £1 and they had a great deal on web hosting and email - £5 for both per month. There’s a minimum of 3 months hosting with GoDaddy, and though it makes sense to buy annual hosting to save money it might be prudent to test the water before committing to a 3 year hosting plan for over £100.
So now we have our brand name, domain name, host and email for just £16. That’s not too bad, is it?